Claire Bradshaw-Stories That Never Happened | Time-travelers tales
I come across articles sometimes that condense a period of history within a few paragraphs. Listicles, I think they’re called. I despise many of them, though most are informative to me. Claire Bradshaw has found a way to make those listicles interesting, by being a dynamic one. Her latest album is called Stories That Never Happened. Let’s see what kind of spell she’s cast.
This is her follow up album after 2020’s Cairo EP. Claire Bradshaw has obviously had a very productive and creatively fulfilling pandemic. Her full length album features songs of all kinds, and all genres she likes to dip her toes into as well. From alt-rock to psychedelic, we hear a bit of everything.
She starts the album with Counterfeit History. This track is a flashback to the 80s synth heavy, driven rock and alternative music. From the Psychic Ills to The Silencers, I hear a bit of all these legends of the genre. Her track has the strength and suave to be an attractive opener for all tuning into her music for the first time.
Beads takes a whole other turn. Providing a 00’s alternative combined with the mystery of new wave, Claire manages to combine Coldplay and Depeche Mode. Her song refuses to use the electronic as a crutch, and rather uses it as a tool for an already well composed song. Ghost continues on those lines, though it has touches of funk with the bass driven line and the wind section. It closes out smooth with the overlapping cascade of synths.
From alternative to rock n roll
Boots In The Right Place is a true rock n roll sound. You have to hear no more than 20 seconds to know you’ll love this song. She carries a sound very similar to Johnny Marr from The Smiths. It utilizes these underrated elements of rock, and capitalizes on the great root sound produced for the song. The next track might be called The Face of Doom, but definitely sounds much more positive. Claire Bradshaw now switches to a Tom Petty/David Bowie storytelling style of songwriting. She’s already displayed 3 solid genres of music with each being performed like it is what she is proficient in narrating with.
Goldfish sees Claire going to that John Mayer experimental stage. Using elements of dominant pop, she gives her own spin on the same kind of tunes that ran parties to the ground for clubs in the 80s. Her voice alters for the tune as well, which is what is astonishing given the difference between the first track and this. King Of Somewhere Land is a very Mike and The Mechanics kind of track. This is the niche classic rock wave Claire is riding, and each experimental layer makes the song more interesting. It also makes her album unpredictable, each song could be starkly different from the other.
Morphing the pop sound
The Lines is a slower alternative track. It uses an acoustic spine to have an emotional one to one with the listener. Claire Bradshaw’s lyrics haven’t been talked about yet. She creates these surreal stories with snippets of their lives as something you have a personal look into. To let it seep in, we have instrumental sections-short but effective. Gives the track more levity as well as gravitas as and when required. Masterful songwriting.
Jelly Beans is a playful track, as expected from the title. It is a quick and fun track. something like Bike from Queen. It has a fun progression, and some good tone merging with each other. Claire knows her way around pockets of silence an sound, which is why the melody sounds so good. I’m Not Worth the Rain is a beautiful track with a lot of classic rock elements. The simple synth and guitar strums dance with each other, only her vocals shining through harmonizing with the strings. It is an overlap of Bowie’s style of delivery like in Heroes and also her version of a famed fabler.
Overlapping eras of music
The State Of You Now has a nice Alanis Morrissette tone to it, yet has Claire’s harmony as well as songwriting welded to the roots of it. It utilizes the instruments very well, nothing is complicated or distracting. It has the gift of sustaining the idea of the song, and it never loses track through the entirety of the song.
I Don’t Know is Claire’s closing track. It has few elements as does Goldfish. She uses this pop layout to add effective, light elements like the guitar flourishes and xylophone taps. Her tune hesitates for a moment, like her lyrics ask the protagonist. The guitar and synth overlap is especially effective here. Claire Bradshaw has mastered a certain style of songwriting. The instrumentals are never forgotten, the lyrics never take over by force. It is a Zen coexistence, something difficult to achieve. Claire makes it look easier than writing a career best album in two years.